An undated report on Al Qaeda’s external operations reveals that the group tried to establish a recruitment office in Iran but backed off because it was deemed to be too expensive.
“[W]e have thought to open an office for ourselves in Iran, to receive whoever comes to join us or someone traveling, but we have backed off this idea because it will be very expensive,” the document reads (PDF). Though undated, it is likely from 2006 or later, given a later passage’s emphasis on attacking Danish targets, presumably over Muhammad cartoons.
Another document, however, concerns itself with the group’s public image, and gives instructions for a would-be spokesman for the group.
“It is better if he comments on what Saudi Arabia channels have been circulating, incorrect news that stated al-Qa’ida has links to Iran,” it reads.
Those are just revelations from a massive document dump by the U.S. of files it obtained during the 2011 raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan. Dubbed “Bin Laden’s Bookshelf,” the document dump includes the sheikh’s English-language library and correspondence with close associates and family. Many of the sources point to a complicated history between Iran and Al Qaeda, which included mass imprisonment and strategic permissiveness.